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Could This Be The Best Blogging Tactic No One is Talking About? – Business 2 Community (blog)

Could This Be The Best Blogging Tactic No One is Talking About?
Business 2 Community (blog)
Are you often looking to find out how you can get more traffic to your blog? If you have, it's likely that you've browsed many posts that confess to having the secret formula and many of them might work. But I want to suggest a blogging tactic that you

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David Bowie: the man who thrilled the world

From glam to neo-soul to his mysterious final album, David Bowie remained one step ahead throughout a prophetic career that pushed sexual and social boundaries. Alexis Petridis salutes a brilliant enigma

When David Bowies final album, Blackstar, was released on 8 January, a great deal of energy was expended trying to unpick the lyrics. As on its predecessor, 2013s The Next Day, or any number of classic Bowie albums from Hunky Dory to Station to Station, they were frequently dense and allusive: much attention was focused on the title track, which one of Blackstars backing musicians, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, claimed was about the rise of Isis, a suggestion Bowies spokesperson subsequently denied. Now, with the knowledge that Bowie was terminally ill during its making, the most striking thing about the album is how elegiac it frequently sounds. If I never see the English evergreens Im running to, its nothing to me, he sang on Dollar Days. Saying no, but meaning yes, this is all I ever meant, thats the message that I sent, ran the closing I Cant Give Everything Away. Most arresting of all is Lazarus: Look at me, Im in heaven. Ive got scars that cant be seen, Ive got drama cant be stolen; everybody knows me now.

Most people assumed that Lazarus was written from the viewpoint of Thomas Newton, the alien Bowie portrayed in Nicolas Roegs The Man Who Fell to Earth: it was the title track of an off-Broadway musical based on the 1976 film. Now it feels suspiciously like Bowie writing his own epitaph, asserting his own fame, vast artistic importance and inimitability for decades, other artists tried to copy David Bowie, but none of them were really anything like him while wryly pointing out that, after nearly 50 years in the spotlight, hed somehow managed to retain a sense of mystery.

<img class="gu-image" itemprop="contentUrl" alt="Various
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ilpo Musto / Rex Features (109350z) David Bowie and Mick Ronson – David Bowie in concert at Hammersmith Odeon, London, Britain, 1973 Various” src=”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/cda978281eb232da8aff7786d32a3983d51f6cfc/525_181_4173_2429/master/4173.jpg?w=300&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&s=0d32d9bcd2a701ec3d08ff75091fe305″/>

Something unknowable lurked at the centre David Bowie at Hammersmith Odeon in 1973. Photograph: Ilpo Musto/Rex Features

Dozens of books have been written about him, some of them hugely illuminating, but something unknowable lurked at the centre. Almost from the start, Bowies career raised questions to which a definitive answer seemed elusive. If he was, as he loudly claimed in 1971, gay, then what was the deal with the very visible wife and the son hed just written a touching little song about? If he was, as he dramatically announced from the stage of the Hammersmith Odeon in July 1973, retiring either from music, or from live performance, or from the character of Ziggy Stardust then what was he doing back onstage in London three months later, belting out The Jean Genie in full Ziggy drag? How does anyone in the state Bowie was, by all accounts, in by 1975 ravaged by cocaine to the point where he seemed to have genuinely gone insane; paranoid and hallucinating make an album like Station to Station: not a messily compelling document of a mind unravelling, like the solo albums of his great idol Syd Barrett, but a work of precision and focus and exquisitely controlled power thats arguably his best? In a world of cameraphones and social media, how could anyone as famous as Bowie disappear from public view as completely as he seemed to between 2008 and 2013: moreover, how could anyone as famous as Bowie record a comeback album in the middle of Manhattan without anyone noticing or leaking details to the media? How does anyone stage-manage their own death as dramatically as Bowie appears to have done: releasing their most acclaimed album in decades, filled with strange, enigmatic songs whose meaning suddenly pulls into focus when their author dies two days later?

It was a dramatic end to a career that began inauspiciously. Bowie spent the 60s trying to fit in with prevalent trends, something to which he was uniquely ill-suited: he didnt make for a terribly convincing blues-influenced rocknroller, or hippy troubadour, or MOR singer-songwriter, just as two decades later, he wouldnt make for a terribly convincing mainstream stadium-rock star, trapped in what he subsequently called the netherworld of commercial acceptance.

Tellingly, the first truly great song he wrote focused on the outsider: recorded at the height of Swinging London, 1966s The London Boys offered up the eras gloomy flipside, a monochrome drama of poverty, amphetamine psychosis, grimy bedsits and cafes. Even when he finally had a hit, with 1969s Space Oddity, his success seemed far from assured. For all the songs eerie brilliance, the public clearly thought of it as a novelty record, capitalising on the moon landings: they declined to buy its follow-up, The Prettiest Star, or the accompanying eponymous album. All along, however, Bowie was picking up ideas he would subsequently pull into focus. His then-manager Ken Pitt introduced him to the Velvet Underground, whose distortion, avant-garde inclinations and transgressive subject matter would reverberate throughout Bowies career: you can hear echoes of their tumultuous sound in everything from the feedback-laden glam rock of 1973s Aladdin Sane to the wilfully synthetic racket he conjured up on 1977s Heroes to the sonic commotion of Blackstars Tis a Pity She Was a Whore. He tried to incorporate what hed learned studying mime under Lindsay Kemp into his stage act, which kicked off a fruitful obsession with drawing ideas from other areas of the arts films, theatre, literature, fashion into rock music.

As the 70s dawned, he found the perfect musical foil in guitarist Mick Ronson and his songwriting got better and better 1971s Hunky Dory was as rich and brilliant a collection of songs as he ever wrote but almost no one noticed. The closest Hunky Dory came to commercial success was when Oh! You Pretty Things made No 12, courtesy of a jaunty, prim cover version by Peter Noone toothsome former frontman of the 60s least-threatening superstars, Hermans Hermits which was clearly some distance from the seismic rupture Bowie had predicted on the albums opening track Changes: Look out, you rocknrollers!

How he made them notice was via one of the most audacious gambles in rock history. Infatuated with the Velvet Undergrounds world of drag queens and sneering, bitchy putdowns, Bowie seemed to realise that, for all the generation-gap-rendering shocks that British rock music had delivered over the preceding decade, it had never really dared touch on the subject of homosexuality. Beyond the thanks-but-no-thanks saga of the Kinks Lola, there were only glancing references, so oblique as to be the stuff of rumour rather than fact: See My Friend, also by the Kinks, the Beatles Youve Got to Hide Your Love Away, Donovans To Try for the Sun. Tellingly, the journalist to whom he came out as bisexual, Michael Watts, didnt seem to have been terribly convinced: Mmmmmm, he responded doubtfully, despite the fact that Bowie had already posed on the cover of 1970s The Man Who Sold the World wearing a mans dress, and larded the lyrics of The Width of a Circle and Queen Bitch with intimations of homosexual encounters.

It didnt matter. The interview drew enough attention that the launch of his next album and its accompanying character, Ziggy Stardust the latter debuted a fortnight later in the unpromising environs of the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth felt like an event. The momentum was electrified further by his appearance on Top of the Pops in July 1972, arguably the most celebrated three minutes of music television ever broadcast in the UK. Listen to a bootleg of Bowie performing live in Aylesbury the preceding year and he sounds nervous and uncertain; on Top of the Pops, he seemed imperious. Theres a touch of Lord Kitchener about the moment Bowie pointed down the camera as he sang the line: I had to phone someone so I picked on you. He looks like a man recruiting an army of teenage misfits. No matter how weird and alien you felt, you couldnt be as weird and alien as Bowie and his bandmates looked: Youre not alone, give me your hands, youre wonderful, he sang on the accompanying album.

It helped that Ziggy Stardust was the right record for the moment. The standard line is that glam rock represented a diversion from the misery of early-70s life, a glittery space-age dreamworld in which you could hide from rising unemployment, industrial unrest and terrorism. But The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is riven with dread and horror, mired in what the journalist Francis Wheen later called the collective nervous breakdown of the 1970s. Even at its most escapist, it underlined what you might be escaping from: Joanie went to fight in Belfast, Judy stayed at home to starve, opened the rocknroll fantasy of Star. As time wore on and Bowie became an ever-more influential and commanding figure capable of reactivating others careers at a stroke his music got more dense and apocalyptic. By the time of 1974s Diamond Dogs, it sounded so decadent and diseased and sensational that it was hard to work out where Bowie could possibly go next.

As it turned out, he was just getting started on a series of musical shifts so brilliantly executed they seemed to drag the rest of pop music along in their wake. If his early 70s albums informed punk a genre heavily staffed by kids whod been galvanised by his 1972 Top of the Pops appearance then the plastic soul and electronic experiments of his late 70s albums presaged a vast quantity of what happened after punk. Quite aside from his willingness to reinvent himself so dramatically, it seems a miracle his fans kept up it might as well have been a completely different artist, said one fan who witnessed both the glammy, theatrical early dates and the funk-inspired later shows of the 1974 tour that finally made him a star in America.

What was remarkable was how thoroughly Bowie could impose himself on different genres, how he could take other peoples ideas and twist them until they seemed entirely his own. 1975s Young Americans was recorded at Sigma Sound, home of the luscious string-laden soul released on Philadelphia International, but it didnt sound like a Philly soul record. Recorded with Brian Eno, 1977s Low and Heroes were clearly in thrall to the music of German experimentalists Kraftwerk and Neu!, but they didnt sound much like Kraftwerk or Neu!. They sounded like David Bowie, even though they sounded nothing like David Bowie had recorded before.

There was a lovely circularity about the release of 1980s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) and its accompanying No 1 single, Ashes to Ashes, at the height of the New Romantic movement hed almost singlehandedly inspired: public confirmation that Bowie was the most important and influential artist since the Beatles. But the 80s were to prove a more problematic decade than that suggested. His career in the 70s had been scarred by bad business deals: once he was out of a contract with Tony DeFries that entitled his former manager to 16% of his earnings until 1982, Bowie seemed determined to make money. He succeeded 1983s Serious Moonlight tour sold 2.6m tickets but, as he later admitted, his artistry suffered. Lets Dance released in 1983, and his biggest hit album with 7m sales had its moments. The following years Tonight, however, did not.

<img class="gu-image" itemprop="contentUrl" alt="British" singer david bowie
29 Mar 1987, Paris, France — British singer David Bowie on stage. — Image by © Catherine Cabrol/Kipa/Corbis” src=”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/9e8dc73e2559262511ba0b909ef6af74aebed9ff/57_57_3292_4944/master/3292.jpg?w=300&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&s=599c05ad86aa1f909d8e717ebd78b651″/>

The most important an influential artist since the Beatles Bowie on stage in Paris, 1987. Photograph: Catherine Cabrol/Kipa/Corbis

By the decades end, Bowie seemed aware that something had gone awry. He tried to kickstart his muse: by forming a heavy rock band, Tin Machine; by announcing that he would no longer play old material in concert; by reconnecting with collaborators whod spurred him on in the past, including Brian Eno and Mick Ronson; by dabbling in the voguish dance genre of drumnbass. He occasionally made brilliant records not least 1995s impenetrable but rewarding Outside but nothing matched what hed achieved in the 70s. Indeed, by the mid-90s, his real innovations seemed to be happening away from the recording studio: he released a download-only single in 1996, nine years before iTunes. He made himself available to fans on the messageboard of his website, foreshadowing the 360-degree connectivity that artists are expected to indulge in in the age of Twitter and Facebook, and which he himself shunned completely in the years before his death.

By the early noughties, he seemed to be settling into the life of a heritage rock star: making well-received albums that knowingly referenced his past, playing classic albums in their entirety, seeming to tacitly acknowledge both the extent of his influence and that his greatest achievements were behind him. Its a pragmatic approach thats served everyone from Paul McCartney to Iggy Pop well, but it sat uneasily with Bowie. His music had never wallowed in nostalgia. It had been iconoclastic and antagonistic towards the past (my brothers at home with his Beatles and his Stones what a drag, hed written on 1972s All the Young Dudes): it was about the present, or better still, the future. It was precipitated by emergency surgery on a blocked artery, but his withdrawal into semi-retirement after 2003s Reality made a strange kind of sense.

Most observers assumed it was permanent. Instead, he suddenly reappeared in 2013 with Where Are We Now?. The song just appeared on the internet on his 66th birthday, without advance promotion or fanfare, its author declining to give interviews: in its own way, as audacious a move as the interview he gave the Melody Maker in 1972. The subsequent album, The Next Day, wasnt a million miles removed from the albums hed been making before his sabbatical solid songwriting, lots of references to Bowies past, but its follow-up was something else entirely. On release, Blackstar sounded remarkably like the kind of confident, decisive break with his past Bowie kept turning out at the height of his powers: the thrillingly exploratory jazz-influenced sound had as little to do with the music on The Next Day as the soul of Young Americans had with the glam albums that preceded it. It sounded like a new beginning. As it turned out, it was the exact opposite: it was a farewell, a puzzle, filled with clues no one picked up on, that would suddenly be solved by his death. David Bowie went out the way he spent most of his career: unknowable, one step ahead of everyone else.

Alexis Petridiss pick of Bowie

Theres no point in trying to make a definitive 20 song Bowie playlist. Theres over half a century of wildly diverse work there: it isnt going to be neatly summed up in 20 songs without glaring omissions, whole areas of what he did left untouched. So this is an unashamedly personal selection, in chronological order.

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USA end Copa América with Colombia loss but show fight and flair in defeat

Carlos Baccas goal gives Colombia victory in Glendale, Arizona, as Jrgen Klinsmanns side finish the tournament as they started it

The Copa Amrica Centenario ended as it began for the US, with defeat to Colombia. Still, some of the fight and flair that was so glaringly absent in the semi-final loss to Argentina was back for Saturdays third-place match, allowing the Americans to restore some self-respect and optimism.

If the US did not earn a virtual bronze, at least they were not leaden. In the Americans fourth appearance in South Americas international showcase, fourth place equals 1995s best-ever Copa finish. Third is Colombias best performance since they won the Copa in 2001, even if Jose Pekermans team never quite seemed to reach their potential.

After six weeks being on the road to pull up a performance like that in a meaningless third-place game in a certain way, USA coach Jrgen Klinsmann said. I think they deserve a huge, huge compliment.

Third-place playoffs, even the entertaining ones, are inevitably the runts of a tournaments litter, existing mainly to make money and help alleviate the structural problem with any competition of this kind: as it reaches its climax the gap between matches grows and slows the momentum built during the all-you-can-watch-buffet group stages.

They are the kind of occasion where a coach would give a fringe player such as Chris Wondolowski a run-out except that Klinsmann bizarrely tried that in the semi-final and it did not work so well.

We didnt get played off the pitch tonight, USA defender Geoff Cameron said. If anything, I thought we dominated the game. I thought we had a lot of chances that we just didnt put in.

If reaching the last four in a tournament with Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay would have been viewed as mission accomplished for the US beforehand, their 4-0 loss to Argentina in Houston on Tuesday was so comprehensive that it served as a gruesome reality check on American ambitions of becoming a team capable of beating the worlds best.

An indicator, perhaps, both of a limited talent pool and a coach incapable of delivering the kind of inspirational and tactical brilliance that sees a team morph into much more than the sum of its parts during a mad, magical, summer.
Klinsmanns side looked good in periods on Saturday, but since this was just a third-place playoff, its tempting to ask: so what? And: why didnt you play like this last time?

In response to the latter question, not conceding an early goal, not facing Lionel Messi, not getting the tactics wrong and seeing important cogs return from suspension certainly helped.

Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya and Bobby Wood were back, while Matt Besler and Michael Orozco came into the defence and Tim Howard replaced Brad Guzan in goal.

Wood was up front with Clint Dempsey, appeasing those who believe the US have looked most effective in a 4-4-2 but frustrating anybody hoping that with the pressure off, Christian Pulisic or Darlington Nagbe would get the valuable experience of a start against a strong opponent.

The 17-year-old Pulisic did come off the bench, though not until the 74th minute. Nagbe replaced Michael Bradley for the final 11 minutes.

This match was a reprise of the Copas first fixture, which the US lost 2-0 in muted fashion in Santa Clara three weeks ago but rebounded to top Group A with wins over Costa Rica and Paraguay followed by a quarter-final victory over Ecuador.

Then came Argentina, the footballing equivalent of watching eleven wizards casting spells as they tap-danced around some tattered beige furniture.

Colombia lost 2-0 to Chile in a a rain-delayed semi-final in Chicago on Wednesday that turned into the dampest of squibs. The sides waited more than two hours to start the second half, and, seeking to recover a two-goal deficit, Colombia had a strong penalty appeal rejected then Carlos Sanchez harshly sent off.

In the warm-up act for Sundays final in New Jersey, Wood had an attempt on goal at the University of Phoenix Stadium with less than four minutes gone. It was wayward, but at least this weak effort was a statistical improvement on the Argentina game. Then the US did not muster so much as one shot.

Saturdays was an enjoyably open contest, as well as a competitive one there were six bookings and two red cards in front of a meagre crowd in Glendale. Colombias winner came after half an hour via a nicely worked move. With a lofted pass over the defence that had echoes of Messis set-up for Argentinas first in Houston, James Rodriguez chipped the ball over Bedoya for the onrushing Santiago Arias, who headed across the six yard box for Carlos Bacca, who evaded DeAndre Yedlin and messily stabbed into the net from close range.

Despite the cumbersome finish, the goal was a beguiling blend of creativity and physicality speed of thought and speed of foot.

The US responded brightly and seven minutes before the break Dempsey slid in Wood, who delayed his shot because Bedoya ran across his path. It was a rare lack of understanding for the US up front on a night when Wood underlined how much his busy, direct approach was missed against Argentina.

With 51 minutes gone, Dempseys superb free kick attempt brought an equally impressive save from Ospina who also memorably denied the Seattle Sounders forward from a set piece in the group game.

Colombia have failed to reach their attacking potential in this Copa, but they almost scored a second outstanding goal of the game after an hour when Juan Cuadrados chip from the edge of the area beat Howard but hit the underside of the crossbar. At the other end, barely a minute later, Wood bashed Ospinas left-hand post.

As the US pushed for an equaliser they left gaps at the back and Howard saved from Edwin Cardona, while James squandered a good opportunity.

Crassness rather than chances defined the closing stages, though, as Orozco and Arias tangled in injury time, the Tijuana defender pushed the PSV Eindhoven man in the face and both were sent off. It was a sour end to an engrossing spectacle.

It was just one of those days, Yedlin said. We got into the box, just nothing was falling for us. So you take the positives from this game and there were certainly a lot of them. I thought for how aggressive we were being offensively we actually defended pretty well. I thought we pressed pretty well and I thought overall it was a good team performance.

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From the library: The Unbanking of America, by Lisa Servon – Patheos (blog)


Patheos (blog)

From the library: The Unbanking of America, by Lisa Servon
Patheos (blog)
As it happens, I couldn't find that blog post, so perhaps this book predates my blogging or I never got around to blogging about it, but as I recall, the author described the nefarious practices of payday lenders, getting their customers to roll over

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With Catholic Votes In Play, Sanders Plans Vatican Visit

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will speak at an event in the Vatican next week, likely broadening his appeal to Catholic voters ahead of crucial nominating contests in a series of Northeastern states.

Like Pope Francis, Sanders has made economic inequality and the plight of the working class a central tenet of his message. Sanders’ April 15 visit to Vatican City, where he will give an economic address at a conference, will come just days before Democrats in New York vote in their state primary.

The trip may help the U.S. senator amplify the anti-corporate line of attack he has employed against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as he tries to keep his insurgent campaign for the Nov. 8 presidential election alive.

Sanders, who would be the first Jewish U.S. president if elected, described himself on MSNBC as a “big, big fan of the pope,” who leads the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Speaking to reporters in New York later, Sanders said he hoped to meet with Francis.

“The pope’s schedule is determined by the Vatican but I would certainly be enthusiastic about that,” said Sanders, 74, the Brooklyn-born son of Polish-Jewish immigrants.

A meeting with the Argentine pontiff could provide an electoral boost to Sanders, who has trailed former Secretary of State Clinton in support among America’s Catholic Democrats.

“Pope Francis has criticized the ‘make money at all cost’ capitalist mentality and called for more compassion for the poor,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist in Washington. “That’s exactly the way, Bernie Sanders wants to define his campaign against Clinton.”

Clinton has scored victories over Sanders in Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Texas, all of which are more than one-quarter Catholic.

A survey by the Pew Research Center earlier this year found that while almost 70 percent of Catholic Democrats thought Clinton would make a good president, just 46 percent thought Sanders would be one.

“This is a great play for Sanders because it ties directly his messaging related to income equality, it puts him on the world stage as a leader, and it does it with an institution and leader important to a key voting bloc in a state where every vote is going to count heading into the primary,” said Virginia-based Democratic strategist Bud Jackson.

Sanders was invited to speak at the Vatican event by the Vatican, a senior papal official said, denying a report that Sanders had invited himself.

“I deny that. It was not that way,” Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo told Reuters. Sorondo, a close aide to Pope Francis, is chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is hosting the event.

SANDERS, BILL CLINTON BACK OFF

Late April brings nominating contests in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, all states with large populations of Catholic voters.

Sanders’ victory earlier this week over Clinton in the Wisconsin primary marked his sixth win in the past seven contests, sparking renewed talk of Clinton’s political vulnerability despite her substantial delegate lead.

Sanders this week said Clinton, who is also a former first lady and former U.S. senator, was not qualified to be president.

After heavy criticism from Clinton’s campaign and other Democrats, he backed off Friday morning in an interview on NBC’s “Today.”

“On her worst day, she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates,” he said, referring to New York developer Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Clinton has been under fire from progressives since her campaign began. On Thursday, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had a testy exchange at a campaign rally in Philadelphia with protestors from the Black Lives Matter movement over the effects of an anti-crime bill passed during his presidency.

At one point, Bill Clinton accused the movement of “defending the people who kill the lives you say matter.”

On Friday, he seemed regretful.

“I rather vigorously defended my wife, as I am wont to do, and I realized, finally, I was talking past her (the protestor) the same way she was talking past me,” Clinton said at an event in Erie, Pennsylvania. “We have got to stop that in this country. We’ve got to listen to each other again.”

In the Republican race, Trump extended his lead nationally over Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The national online poll showed that 42 percent of Republicans support Trump, compared with 32 percent for Cruz and 20 percent for Kasich.

(Additional reporting by Megan Cassella and Doina Chiacu in Washington and Philip Pullella in Vatican City; Editing by Bill Trott and Alistair Bell)

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Top 10 Business Ideas You Can Start for Free With Barely Lifting A Finger – Entrepreneur


Entrepreneur

Top 10 Business Ideas You Can Start for Free With Barely Lifting A Finger
Entrepreneur
You can start blogging about traveling, tips to get around your city, or any other topic that you feel comfortable sharing. Once you have a solid base of followers, you can make money by selling ad spots on your page, joining programs like Google

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What the Cowboys can do to get back into the playoffs – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

What the Cowboys can do to get back into the playoffs
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · Shop · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on.

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Taylor Swift & Katy Perry Put Aside Their Bad Blood To Support The Reform Of THIS Law!

BITCH

Recently, the two divas — along with artists including Paul McCartney, Kings Of Leon, Steven Tyler, and Lionel Richie –have signed a petition urging Congress to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1998.

The petition — organized by music manager Irving Azoff — believes that tech companies have used the law to make money while singers and songwriters get zilch.

“It has allowed major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters’ and artists’ earnings continue to diminish Music consumption has skyrocketed, but the monies generated by individual writers and artists for that consumption has plummeted The growth and support of technology companies should not be at the expense of artists and songwriters.”

He does have a valid point!

On the flip side, The Internet Association — a group that represents companies such as Netflix and Facebook — asserts that DMCA is working perfectly fine!

“The Digital Millennium Copyright Act creates safe harbors for Internet platforms by ensuring they will not be liable for what their users do, so long as the platforms act responsibly These smart laws allow people to post content that they have created on platformssuch as videos, reviews, pictures, and text. In essence, this is what makes the Internet great.”

YouTube defended their practice, believing their current model benefits everyone.

“The overwhelming majority of labels and publishers have licensing agreements in place with YouTube to leave fan videos up on the platform and earn revenue from them Today the revenue from fan uploaded content accounts for roughly 50 percent of the music industry’s YouTube revenue. Any assertion that this content is largely unlicensed is false.”

Only time will tell whether Congress will reform the law or not!

[Image via WENN.]

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5 Ugly Things You Learn As A Sex Slave In The Modern World

Last year we wrote an article with a woman who spent her childhood and early adulthood as a sex slave in the United States. It was horrifying and depressing and, for some reason, a bunch of readers declared our source a fraud. Their arguments boiled down to, “There’s no way this kind of shit happens today!”

Well, it not only goes on, it’s common. Globally, the U.N. estimates the yearly value of the human trafficking industry at $32 billion, making it the third-largest criminal industry on the planet, lagging only behind guns and drugs. The vast majority of it is sex slavery, and law enforcement almost never succeeds in punishing the culprits.

We’re talking about millions of victims, probably 80 percent of them female (though all numbers are just educated guesses). How is that shit even possible? Well, to get an even clearer picture of the horror, we spoke to an expert who works with sex-trafficking victims in Europe and a former victim from right here in the U.S. of A. They said …

#5. Pimps Are Subtle

This one is probably very surprising to those of us whose entire concept of pimps comes from pop culture and/or flamboyant Halloween costumes.

“Costume?”

“Christina” got ensnared by a man she thought was her boyfriend. It started when she got pregnant at 18 and, angry at her family’s reaction, moved to Las Vegas to start stripping. “Then I met a guy on the strip I thought was the answer to all my dreams: bought me a nice car, put me in a nice house, took me shopping. He was amazing.” Holy shit, Christina got Pretty Woman‘d without even having to work a street corner. That’s basically the best-case scenario for a runaway in Las Vegas, right? But you already know where this shit is going:

“So here I am, thinking I’d made it. I’d met Prince Charming and my life was going to be amazing. A couple months later, Halloween night, he sat me down in the kitchen and said, ‘I’m actually a pimp. And the time you’ve spent with me isn’t free.'” Yeah, then the “subtle” technique was replaced by the more direct approach. “He told me, ‘If you leave or tell anyone, I’ll kill you, and I’ll kill your family.’ That started a year and a half of complete hell. I didn’t know anything about pimps aside from rap songs or ‘pimp your ride.’ He explained, ‘I’m going to take you, drop you off at the casino. Sit at the bar. The first person who walks up to you, tell them you want to negotiate a price.'”

And if you think casino security would help stop this? It doesn’t.

See, this is what complicates the “Why not legalize prostitution? It’s a transaction between two consenting adults!” argument. Where you find prostitution, you always find some who are there against their will. Not that the customers knew, or cared. “I wouldn’t be surprised if not one of them knew [I was trafficked]. Nobody ever asked. It was all fun and games — party time.”

We also talked with “Kay,” who works for a charity helping former trafficking victims in Europe’s sex-trafficking capital, Bulgaria. Christina’s story sounded very familiar to her. She told us the story of one woman she worked with:

“She’s from a small village in Bulgaria. And she started dating an older man. … She was 13 or 14 and he was 19 or 20. It’s normal here for a 16-year-old to date a 20- to 21-year-old.” (The age of consent there is 14 — 18 if you’re gay.) “So … she was dating him for about a year. She didn’t know this, but he was grooming her. ‘Grooming’ means you’re making and creating a woman who will at some point prostitute herself for your affection.”

Which is a process as common as it is alarmingly sophisticated.

This is pimping on a level much more unsettling than anything a man with gold teeth, a cane, and a fabulous hat could accomplish. And it also rings true with the experience of the former sex slave we spoke with last year, who was forced into prostitution by her parents. “You have this man who says he loves you,” says Kay, “and he’s providing for you. He may even seduce your family with his charm. Then behind closed doors he gets you to start doing things sexually, starts with, ‘I owe my buddy a big debt. If you can do this one time it’ll clear my debt …'”

And from there it escalates to open prostitution. But why don’t the girls just bail out once it crosses that line? “That’s what I would do,” you confidently shout at your screen. Well …

#4. They Make Escape Impossible

In the United States, keeping a person trafficked is a matter of constant vigilance (“There was always someone watching me,” says Christina). The process is often strangely cult-like, including total isolation from the outside world. “The other girls my pimp trafficked were ‘sisters.’ My pimp’s brother’s girls were my ‘sister-in-laws.’ If I see a sister or a sister-in-law, I can talk to them.” Otherwise, she was cut off. “I had zero contact with anybody. I went to prison and didn’t even know we were at war with Iraq. I’d been so isolated from the world.”

Christina’s pimp had also used the time he was grooming her to track down information about her family: That made his threats against them much more credible, and thus made leaving even harder. For the worst kind of pimps, Google is a much more dangerous tool than a backhand. “He had my birth certificate, pictures of my family — he’d spent all this time gathering information. … He had pictures of my mom.”

The “victimless crime” defense just got a bit harder to justify.

Still, she attempted to escape between 100 and 150 times, she says, most of which were shut down immediately. On a few occasions, she ran away and took shelter at home, at which point the pimp would have one of his employees/buddies shadow the house. Christina was too scared to tell her family what had happened. So when her pimp inevitably picked her back up — ensuring her compliance with threats of violence — she left home again without a struggle.

In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, many victims don’t even consider themselves as being “trafficked.” As Kay says, “Most of my girls come from a culture of prostitution. Which means they were bred to be prostitutes. So you have whole cities dedicated to the business. … They are sent all over Bulgaria, all over Europe to do this business, and they provide millions of euros to the organized crime rooted in Bulgaria.”

Basically, farmers of free-range and organic human misery.

These women often get into the sex trade when they’re still too young to consent. By the time they’re adults they may say they “consent” to do the work … but it’s also all they’ve ever known, and all they’ve been groomed for. “They manipulate so well these girls won’t believe they’re trafficked, ever. Even if you get a girl away from a situation, drag the girls out, and rescue them, it takes years for girls to realize they’re trafficked. What is trafficking when your whole family has been doing it?”

So when does it end? “Most trafficked women in Bulgaria simply age out of being trafficked. Eventually they’re too old to make money — at which point, they’re out on the streets.”

If your response to that is, “Damn, Eastern Europe sounds like a shithole!” please keep in mind …

#3. Trafficking Victims Are Exported Everywhere — And Always Find Willing Customers

If the traffickers in places like Bulgaria can keep hold of their victims and groom them to adulthood, they can send them off to the bits of Europe where prostitution is legal and make shitloads of legal money off of them. One of the top five countries in Europe with the most victims of sex trafficking is the goddamn Netherlands, a nation that’s about as First World as they come.

The girls who are groomed and moved to other countries lose control of their own travel documents in the process — that’s part of what keeps them from escaping. In other cases, girls answer ads for what look like legit jobs in other countries (like, say, the USA) with promises of room and board — maybe a service job that advertises for an attractive young female candidate. Then, once they arrive, the victims get eased into the real job by the same process Christina did — they’re told they owe money and now have to “work” it off.

We’re no economists, but we’re pretty fucking sure that’s not a legally recognized exchange rate.

Kay says the girls she deals with are “typically sent to Greece first. Legal, but indoor brothels. Italy is sorta the same way. … It’s not legal, but it is everywhere. If you can get a girl to survive through that, they’ll send them to Western Europe. So if the girl is still under your control, you can put them out into the red light districts.”

Oh, and in case we’re making the international sex slave trade sound like a foreign problem involving exotic Taken villains, keep in mind up to 17,000 humans are trafficked into the USA every year, though that number is a blind guess. As for how many girls are trafficked within the USA, like Christina? The government doesn’t even have an estimate. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police alone have recovered 2,229 victims of sex trafficking since 1994.

So, here’s the reality: If you’ve paid for sex, there’s a significant chance the person you fucked was there against their will.

See: “he had pictures of my mom” from earlier.

Why do we know so little about this problem? Because …

Last year we wrote an article with a woman who spent her childhood and early adulthood as a sex slave in the United States. It was horrifying and depressing and, for some reason, a bunch of readers declared our source a fraud. Their arguments boiled down to, “There’s no way this kind of shit happens today!”

Well, it not only goes on, it’s common. Globally, the U.N. estimates the yearly value of the human trafficking industry at $32 billion, making it the third-largest criminal industry on the planet, lagging only behind guns and drugs. The vast majority of it is sex slavery, and law enforcement almost never succeeds in punishing the culprits.

We’re talking about millions of victims, probably 80 percent of them female (though all numbers are just educated guesses). How is that shit even possible? Well, to get an even clearer picture of the horror, we spoke to an expert who works with sex-trafficking victims in Europe and a former victim from right here in the U.S. of A. They said …

#5. Pimps Are Subtle

This one is probably very surprising to those of us whose entire concept of pimps comes from pop culture and/or flamboyant Halloween costumes.

“Costume?”

“Christina” got ensnared by a man she thought was her boyfriend. It started when she got pregnant at 18 and, angry at her family’s reaction, moved to Las Vegas to start stripping. “Then I met a guy on the strip I thought was the answer to all my dreams: bought me a nice car, put me in a nice house, took me shopping. He was amazing.” Holy shit, Christina got Pretty Woman‘d without even having to work a street corner. That’s basically the best-case scenario for a runaway in Las Vegas, right? But you already know where this shit is going:

And if you think casino security would help stop this? It doesn’t.

See, this is what complicates the “Why not legalize prostitution? It’s a transaction between two consenting adults!” argument. Where you find prostitution, you always find some who are there against their will. Not that the customers knew, or cared. “I wouldn’t be surprised if not one of them knew [I was trafficked]. Nobody ever asked. It was all fun and games — party time.”

We also talked with “Kay,” who works for a charity helping former trafficking victims in Europe’s sex-trafficking capital, Bulgaria. Christina’s story sounded very familiar to her. She told us the story of one woman she worked with:

Which is a process as common as it is alarmingly sophisticated.

This is pimping on a level much more unsettling than anything a man with gold teeth, a cane, and a fabulous hat could accomplish. And it also rings true with the experience of the former sex slave we spoke with last year, who was forced into prostitution by her parents. “You have this man who says he loves you,” says Kay, “and he’s providing for you. He may even seduce your family with his charm. Then behind closed doors he gets you to start doing things sexually, starts with, ‘I owe my buddy a big debt. If you can do this one time it’ll clear my debt …'”

And from there it escalates to open prostitution. But why don’t the girls just bail out once it crosses that line? “That’s what I would do,” you confidently shout at your screen. Well …

#4. They Make Escape Impossible

In the United States, keeping a person trafficked is a matter of constant vigilance (“There was always someone watching me,” says Christina). The process is often strangely cult-like, including total isolation from the outside world. “The other girls my pimp trafficked were ‘sisters.’ My pimp’s brother’s girls were my ‘sister-in-laws.’ If I see a sister or a sister-in-law, I can talk to them.” Otherwise, she was cut off. “I had zero contact with anybody. I went to prison and didn’t even know we were at war with Iraq. I’d been so isolated from the world.”

Christina’s pimp had also used the time he was grooming her to track down information about her family: That made his threats against them much more credible, and thus made leaving even harder. For the worst kind of pimps, Google is a much more dangerous tool than a backhand. “He had my birth certificate, pictures of my family — he’d spent all this time gathering information. … He had pictures of my mom.”

The “victimless crime” defense just got a bit harder to justify.

Still, she attempted to escape between 100 and 150 times, she says, most of which were shut down immediately. On a few occasions, she ran away and took shelter at home, at which point the pimp would have one of his employees/buddies shadow the house. Christina was too scared to tell her family what had happened. So when her pimp inevitably picked her back up — ensuring her compliance with threats of violence — she left home again without a struggle.

In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, many victims don’t even consider themselves as being “trafficked.” As Kay says, “Most of my girls come from a culture of prostitution. Which means they were bred to be prostitutes. So you have whole cities dedicated to the business. … They are sent all over Bulgaria, all over Europe to do this business, and they provide millions of euros to the organized crime rooted in Bulgaria.”

Basically, farmers of free-range and organic human misery.

These women often get into the sex trade when they’re still too young to consent. By the time they’re adults they may say they “consent” to do the work … but it’s also all they’ve ever known, and all they’ve been groomed for. “They manipulate so well these girls won’t believe they’re trafficked, ever. Even if you get a girl away from a situation, drag the girls out, and rescue them, it takes years for girls to realize they’re trafficked. What is trafficking when your whole family has been doing it?”

So when does it end? “Most trafficked women in Bulgaria simply age out of being trafficked. Eventually they’re too old to make money — at which point, they’re out on the streets.”

If your response to that is, “Damn, Eastern Europe sounds like a shithole!” please keep in mind …

#3. Trafficking Victims Are Exported Everywhere — And Always Find Willing Customers

If the traffickers in places like Bulgaria can keep hold of their victims and groom them to adulthood, they can send them off to the bits of Europe where prostitution is legal and make shitloads of legal money off of them. One of the top five countries in Europe with the most victims of sex trafficking is the goddamn Netherlands, a nation that’s about as First World as they come.

The girls who are groomed and moved to other countries lose control of their own travel documents in the process — that’s part of what keeps them from escaping. In other cases, girls answer ads for what look like legit jobs in other countries (like, say, the USA) with promises of room and board — maybe a service job that advertises for an attractive young female candidate. Then, once they arrive, the victims get eased into the real job by the same process Christina did — they’re told they owe money and now have to “work” it off.

We’re no economists, but we’re pretty fucking sure that’s not a legally recognized exchange rate.

Kay says the girls she deals with are “typically sent to Greece first. Legal, but indoor brothels. Italy is sorta the same way. … It’s not legal, but it is everywhere. If you can get a girl to survive through that, they’ll send them to Western Europe. So if the girl is still under your control, you can put them out into the red light districts.”

Oh, and in case we’re making the international sex slave trade sound like a foreign problem involving exotic Taken villains, keep in mind up to 17,000 humans are trafficked into the USA every year, though that number is a blind guess. As for how many girls are trafficked within the USA, like Christina? The government doesn’t even have an estimate. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police alone have recovered 2,229 victims of sex trafficking since 1994.

So, here’s the reality: If you’ve paid for sex, there’s a significant chance the person you fucked was there against their will.

See: “he had pictures of my mom” from earlier.

Why do we know so little about this problem? Because …

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